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Indonesia-Missouri Business Partnership Signed (1-16-12 Jakarta Globe)

A Missouri-based trade association, the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the American Chamber of Commerce signed a memorandum of understanding in Jakarta on Monday as they seek to strengthen business and investment ties.

The trade association, the World Trade Center St. Louis, formalized a partnership with Indonesian businesses in a bid to boost trade and to pave the way for major investment in Indonesia.

The key areas of the agreement were agriculture and food security, high technology and aerospace, and infrastructure.

“We did this trade mission because we saw growing opportunities in Indonesia,” Tim Nowak, executive director of WTC St. Louis, said in Jakarta after the signing of the agreement.

According to data from the World Institute for Strategic Economic Research, the US state of Missouri sold $54.2 million of goods to Indonesia in the first nine months of 2011, 5.7 percent more than the same period in 2010.

In comparison, the state sold $869.8 in goods to China in that same period, a 28 percent increase from the previous year.

Nowak said China was now Missouri’s third-largest trading partner after ranking 18th just 10 years ago. “Guess who is number 18 now? I hope in the next 10 years Indonesia becomes number three,” he said.

Nowak said he hoped the partnership would give multinational companies such as Monsanto and Emerson greater opportunities here. Monsanto, an agricultural giant, already has operations in Indonesia, including a cocoa plantation in Sulawesi.

Emerson is a global manufacturing, energy and technology company that offers products and services in the industrial, commercial and consumer markets.

“They will have a formal way to make it possible, not just coming here on their own without any connections,” Nowak said.

Ted Osius, deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy, said the agreement came at a time when the United States was seeking to boost investment in Indonesia by at least by 20 percent.

American companies invested a total of $1.4 billion in the first nine months of 2011, according to the Indonesian Investment Coordination Board (BKPM).

Shinta Kamdani, a deputy chairwoman at the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin), said US businesses still faced hurdles to doing business here, including an overly complicated bureaucracy.

“Things have improved. But nonetheless a partnership between US and local businesses is necessary,” she said.



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